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Mary Frances Gardner focuses her practice in the areas of labor and employment law and higher education. Mary Frances cut her teeth in higher education law by serving in-house at The Ohio State University in the Office of University Compliance and Integrity. Mary Frances was instrumental in developing and implementing a centralized compliance function and leading OSU's Clery Act compliance program. Building on her in-house experience, Mary Frances works with both public and private higher education clients to navigate regulatory compliance, helping them uncover deficiencies and develop policies and procedures that are not only compliant but also implementable. Known by her clients and colleagues as a creative and detail-oriented problem solver, Mary Frances is the attorney you want on your team to balance legal advice and practicality.  

Memberships & Awards

Ohio State Bar Association
Columbus Bar Association

Key Experience

Responsible for Clery Act compliance program for a large public institution of higher education
Responsible for the development and publication of the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for an institution of higher education
Developed and ensured distribution of the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Annual Notification for an institution of higher education

Work Experience

2021 Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
2019-2021 The Ohio State University
2018-2019 Michigan State University

Speaking Engagements

"Hazing on Campus: Complying with Collin's Law," AICUO Compliance Day, Ohio Dominican University, September 2022

"Part II - The Aftermath of a Crisis," Employment Law Alliance Webcast, August 2022